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Police pledge as men locked up over rave

PUBLISHED: 09:48 02 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:53 01 August 2010

Police chiefs last night said they would continue to act tough on illegal ravers after ten men were given custodial sentences for their involvement in an unlicensed event in Thetford Forest.

Police chiefs last night said they would continue to act tough on illegal ravers after ten men were given custodial sentences for their involvement in an unlicensed event in Thetford Forest.

Another man, from Bergh Apton, was given a suspended sentence for his part in the event.

The seven men from Suffolk and three from Norfolk were sent to prisons and young offender institutions for periods ranging from four to six months following their part in the disorder that followed a large rave in King's Forest, near Bury St Edmunds, last year.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that the revellers caused fear and distress to residents and damage to a site of special scientific interest after more than 1,000 people gathered at the forest site. More than 100 police officers from Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex -many dressed in riot gear - were called to disperse the illegal rave at Forestry Commission land on the morning of July 15 and some were pelted with bottles, stones and sticks.

Sentencing the men yesterday, Judge John Holt said the situation had been exacerbated by the presence of people among the crowd who were drinking to excess and taking illegal drugs.

He added that police had shut down the rave in a “sensible and proportionate” manner.

Kirk Austin, 19, of The Causeway, Stow Bridge, Kings Lynn, Wayne Saxton, 20, of Mellis Road, Yaxley, near Eye, and Christopher Hood, 19, of Normanston Drive, Lowestoft, were each sent to a young offender institution for four months.

Judge Holt jailed Adrian Rowbotham, 28, of Kings Green, Fairstead, King's Lynn, and Luke Parker, 26, of Norwich Road, Brockford, near Stowmarket, for four months each, Wayne Roberts, 24, of Lake Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, and Craig Kirtley, 24, of Verneuil Avenue, Stowmarket for four and a half months each, and Christopher Kerry, 23, of Church Close, Roydon, near Diss, who had also breached a conditional discharge for an assault offence, to a total of six months.

Another man, Stuart Brown, 25, from The Street, Bergh Apton, near Norwich, who handed himself into police, was given a four-and-a-half month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was told to complete 300 hours of unpaid community work.

All nine men had pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder.

Michael Hodges, 20, of Finborough Road, Stowmarket, who admitted conspiracy to organise an unlicensed event and aiding and abetting violent disorder, was sentenced to four months and ten weeks in custody.

Joshua Barrington-Lee, 22, of Canterbury Close, Ipswich, who admitted conspiracy to organise an unlicensed event, was jailed for four months.

Det Insp Jenny Benham, of Suffolk Police, said: “This should act as a deterrent to anyone considering organising or attending an illegal gathering in the county. The message is clear - if you come to Suffolk intent on attending an illegal rave and causing disruption and intimidation, you will be arrested and put before the court.”

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